Saturday, 31 July 2010


I had never heard the term 'upcycling' before, but it turns out that it means to recycle something and turn it into something better. I already do this quite a lot so when I saw that the card challenge on the 'Lets capture our memories' blog was to make a card by upcycling I thought I should definitely have a go.

My card is for Jonathan and I'm calling it 'pizza and diet coke' (two of his favourite things) - because it's made from pizza box cardboard and cut out bits of a diet coke can...

I used the 'Tim Holtz grungepaper flowers' idea that I learned from Jill at the last Trip down memory lane retreat plus flowers of my own design. What's amazing is that I didn't cut myself on the can once!

Anyway - I hope you like my upcycled card...

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Blog hopping, bog hopping and rock hopping...

Well, as usual we have had an amazing time here at the Isle of Eriska and big thanks to Beppo and his team for looking after us (and to Jonathan for paying!!). We love the Sage and Chive spa suites and this time we stayed in Sage. It's great because as well as the lovely big bedroom and bathroom we have a living room with a table I can scrap on, a conservatory and a Jacuzzi in the yard. The food here is amazing (thank you chef) and every night is 'Movie night' - so far we have watched 'Deja Vu', 'Dorian Gray' and 'Next' and tonight it's 'The girl with the dragon tattoo (I managed to read the last 300 pages of the book today in preparation!).

So back to the title of my blog - the weekend when we got here started off with me having fun taking part in my first blog hop with the design dollies web site and I am delighted that I won a prize from the superbly talented Karen (it's a shame she has to pay postage all the way from Australia - she's obviously very kind and nice as well as talented). I also had a go at their colour challenge which is here and this is my LO... (I thought I’d do a LO about Jonathan since I always seem to be saying thank you to him for things in my blog)… Hopping over to the Chicken Soup challenge blog their challenge for this week was to use yellow/black/white/ grunge style and I altered this cheap notebook as my 'entry'...

Ok, so the 'bog hop and rock hop' part of the blog... actually this entry could have been called 'a not entirely fruitless exercise' or 'slim pickings' because yesterday I decided to throw on my waterproof coat don my new walking boots and head down to shell point on Eriska to scour the scrub for bilberries. Having had so much rain on Monday the going underfoot was very wet and I ended up on my knees in the bog on more than one occasion (I'm better at blog hopping than bog hopping). I did manage to find a few bilberries but I think the birds had beaten me to it as all the ones I found were hidden down inside the bushes - so after two and a half hours of picking all I ended up with was a small sandwich bag of berries. But to be honest with a view like this you don't mind spending that amount of time out picking berries...

My bilberry 'haul' (by the way they are NOT the same as blueberries!!)... Oh and wait till you see them in the pie..!!
When I heard the air-sea rescue helicopter overhead, I looked in panic at my watch but I was still ok for time (Jonathan had said "If you're not back by 6.30 I'll call air-sea rescue!). However I decided that the best route back would be along the rocky coastline and that rock hopping would be preferable to bog hopping. After half an hour of rock climbing with the tide rapidly coming in I made it back. I didn't slip once and thanks to my absolutely fantastic new walking boots (thanks Jonathan! - I seem to say that a lot!) my feet stayed warm and dry even though I was wet up to my knees on the outside. I was delighted (once back on the path) to see one of Eriska's deer bounding in front of me and even more delighted to climb into the Jacuzzi when I finally made it back to our suite. The therapist at the spa massaged away the remaining aches and pains from all the jumping, climbing, crawling and reaching for berries!

My absolutely fabulous Salomon ortholite boots after their first real 'trial'!

Monday, 26 July 2010

Hello from Eriska!

Today has been very rainy here at Eriska - no bilberry picking today (sorry Mum!) - but at least I got all my Design Team work done (4 LOs and some cards), leaving me a little time to play with the design dollies again...this time it was the sketch challenge...

So, another Sophie LO - well I did buy a few sheets from the 'So Sophie' range and since I had her photos out I thought I might use them!

Off for dinner now - hmmm I love being on holiday, no cooking or washing up!

Saturday, 24 July 2010

A Mad day out!

Yesterday was birthday treat no.3 and we headed down on the train to York. After checking in to the Cedar Court Grand hotel (which was lovely!) we took a taxi to the racecourse. After some wandering round to see the different facilities we decided that the champagne 'enclosure' would be our best bet. A bottle of pink fizz later and the whole place really was looking rosy. We had a little unsuccessful flutter on the horses - the closest we came was 'Bossy Kitty' who we had an each way bet on and came in 3rd. We accompanied the second bottle of pink fizz with a very good burger (the sandwich on the train seemed a long time ago by now!) and enjoyed the spectacle of ladies in glam frocks sipping pimms and champagne and the excitement as each race took place - we really were at the posh end of the racecourse and it was a lovely balmy evening.

Then when the racing finished we decided to take a walk to find the stage. It turned out to be right at the other end of the course, but we made it there with only a couple of minutes to spare before the horns blasted out the start of 'One step beyond!' and then the Madness really started - literally.
Madness were amazing and the concert flew by so fast with song after song and no breaks. The highlights were the old favourites: Our House, Baggy Trousers, House of Fun, Wings of a Dove and It Must be Love, plus countless others - I think I sang along and danced and clapped along with most of it.

The crowd were wild - down at the 'less expensive' part of the course it was jeans and t-shirts and a lot of beer being drunk and thrown around. Strangely enough I didn't mind it (could be something to do with having consumed an entire bottle of champagne?) and I loved that the crowd were so into the music, singing along and dancing 'nutty boy' style.

I got one or two good photos and a lot of blurred ones - but they were worth it to get the couple that turned out ok!

I have loved Madness for so long and always wanted to go and see them live and I wasn't disappointed. For me singing and dancing along to Nightboat to Cairo amongst a crowd of fans with Suggs only 20 or 30 feet away was about as perfect a moment in life as you get.

Definitely another 10/10 experience

Friday, 23 July 2010

So Sophie!

When I saw the 'So Sophie' range from My Minds Eye, I of course thought immediately of our Sophie, who we lost three years ago. I also knew it would be perfect for this week's colour challenge at the Design dollies doll house!
So here is is, teal, brown, cream and a 'pop' of red.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

The culprit...

Ok so I'm fairly sure who was responsible for the treat jar disaster, so in her honour, here is my LO for the design dollies elements challenge - use a vintage movie as inspiration for a LO.
Claudia - my little pink panther!

Monday, 19 July 2010

Destruction and creativity weekend...

To start with, the destruction - remember my treat jar that was part of my DT work on the ATDML July gallery? Here it is...
And here it is after 3 Bengals decide that they don't want anything to come between them and their Go-cat!
Ah well...I still love them!

But the creativity continues, This weekend I managed to get a few things done - amazing since I also got my i-pad on Saturday, and I love it (thank you Jonathan!).
The creativity started with my entry in the art journal I'm in. The theme was 'journey' and I decided to use some of my stamps and inks to create a Chinese page based on the saying 'A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step'. Appropriate for me having lived in Hong Kong and travelled in China.
I then spent some time assembling and painting a birdcage which I got from A Trip Down Memory Lane - but no photos yet since I'll be blogging about it on the ATDML blog at the end of the month.
I then decided to do a bit of felting and made a handful of black felted balls. I then sat lastnight while we watched a film and turned them into a necklace, sewing little beads onto each ball. I just have to add a clasp of some kind then it's done.

Anyway, today I'm off with Mum to check out a new craft shop in Kirkcaldy called The Crafty Bite...will let you know how we get on!

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Having a 'souper' time!

So lastnight, having realised I had not been too creative all day I decided to have a play with the two recipes from the chicken soup blog that I haven't done yet. I did No.3 first which was to produce a LO based on the David Bowie Album:
I decided to rotate it and not stick too closely to the the fromat - but hopefully you can still see that it's based on it - there is some white space! I especially enjoyed painting the little triangles of chipboard bunting...
Then I decided to have a go at their first recipe, thanks Ann for letting me know it wasn't too late! This was a fun LO based on the Coke World cup advert:
Since it was going to be a fun LO I wanted to use a funny picture - from the same day as the jester - when you see a cannon and you have both a husband and a camera handy - I think this is a picture you just HAVE to take!!!
Thanks again soup cooks - I had fun lastnight. Now I have to go and clean up the mess I also created!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

What WAS on my workspace Wednesday...

I was going to have a go at joining the fun with the WOYWW people - but with going to a funeral yesterday I didn't get the chance to blog. But I was still creative...

This was my LO for the UKS weekly challenge. I've used bright colours, flowers, buttons and my title is a Jet Li film 'Fearless'.

Amazing to think that actually being thrust a handful of snakes at age 17 didn't bother me in the slightest. This in the snake temple in Penang (Malaysia) back in the summer of 1987 - it was one of those photos that someone took, you paid them money and left your address - amazingly, a few weeks later the photo did come through!!

The papers are We R Memory Keepers White Out collection, Nonsense: Zig zag, Jingle jangle and Drip drop. Plus a few buttons, letters and a lot of time spent cutting out flowers (but I love doing this!). The focus on papers rather than expensive embellishments made it a time consuming but inexpensive LO and I love the way the petals stick up!

Today's creativity is going to be spent in my classroom, putting up wall displays and writing planners!

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Day 9... chicken soup for tea?

If you haven't already, you must visit the new challenge blog chicken soup, set up by some very talented scrappers (& lovely ladies they are too) to help us all when we lose our scrapping mojo!

I didn't manage the first recipe - but here's my go at their recipe No.2 based on the cover of a patchwork book. I love doing patchwork and one of things I love is that you can use up scraps of fabric to make something wonderful. So in the same vein I decided to use up some scraps of Graphic 45 Renaissance Fayre papers to produce this LO about my day at the V&A. The cream paper is actually parchment, but it doesn't show up too well in the photo.

Thanks for the inspiration, soup cooks!
Ok - I'd better really go and make the tea now..!

Days 6, 7 and 8 and now playing with dollies!

Since my initial flurry of creative posts I have lately been a bit lax about blogging - though I have still been creative - though mainly in the kitchen. Sam from my UKS team inspired me to make some ice-cream and then yesterday I had a go at making my own pitta bread - it worked out really well too!! I've also been 'creating' tidy spaces round my house and 'creating' clean clothes aka housework and laundry!!

But today I have been playing with dollies - well at least having a go at the July colour challenge from the design dollies blog here.
The challenge was to use red, pale pink and black and this is my LO... (any nice comments gratefully received!)

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Day 5…a day at the V & A…

...well not the entire day, I had to spend 2 hours of the afternoon in the clutches of a torturer (aka the dentist) who gave me the single most painful experience of dentistry I have ever had. But enough about that… I decided since I was in London that I should take the opportunity for some artistic inspiration and go somewhere I’ve never been before – the Victoria and Albert Museum. It was amazing. To begin with, it’s huge and I only probably saw a quarter of what was there. I was a little disappointed that I had missed their exhibition of quilting by just a few days – but there were plenty of other things to see. The statues, frescoes, asian art and theatre arts were all highlights but probably the most amazing things were the huge pillars that filled the whole 6 storey height of the museum.
I loved the fact that you can go round and take photographs – so I did lots of that. I also sat for about an hour and drew one of the statues. Although I’ve done lots of portrait drawing from photographs I haven’t tried drawing a 3D form and with my day of life drawing coming up in the future I thought it would be a good chance to get some practise in! it is Eve listening to the voice of Adam… It was amazing how many people paid an interest to that statue because I was drawing it!! A few people tried to look at my drawing too, but only one sweet old lady managed it – I was almost finished and she told me I’d done an excellent job! Thanks, whoever you are, you made my day!

However, I think my absolute favourite thing there (and the thing I’d want to break in to steal if I was an art thief!) was in the 20th century design room. It was a book about cacti which the artist had cut out pictures from the book, but they still remained attached to the book – I’d definitely like to have a go at making one of these!

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Still day 4...

Thanks to East Coast Wi-fi I bring you...

Mark Knopfler, or at least my version of him. Drawn using a 4B pencil on plain white paper. He's not perfect, but the best I can manage on a train!!
It's great to have free Wi-fi and a power socket when you're travelling, however today it seems like the least they can do. I arrived at Edinburgh station ready to get on my train to London and about 15 minutes before it was due to leave - they cancelled it!!!
Although I had a non-transferrable advance ticket, I saw a very nice lady at the ticket office who validated my ticket for the next train. So an hour late but I'm on my way...

Creativity day 4...

...with a little help from Google and Safmat...
I have finally finished my Fairy Tales Art journal entry and it will be posted off today (though I know a little bit late - but it was late getting to me.)
My favourite part is actually my wicked witch page. I found the witch picture on Google Images and printed it on Safmat. If you've never used Safmat, buy some right now and try it - I love it. It basically is a transparent sticker material (Self adhesive printing film to be correct). It comes in A4 sheets which you can print onto with your inkjet or laser printer.

You can buy it here!

I laid down stickers spelling 'witch' then painted the background in green, with an almost dry brush effect at the edges. I then cut round my witch's face, peeled off the backing sheet and stuck her over the green which then showed through the sticker to give her a greenish complexion - lovely!

The right hand page is another picture from Google images, this time, the cover of a Brothers Grimm fairytale book which I stretched to fit the 8"x 8" page - again it's printed on Safmat and this time the brown cardstock shows through.

I'm off down to London today and will be taking some drawing to do on the train - if I'm able to I'll photograph and upload it tonight or tomorrow.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Creativity day 3 - housebuilding

I spent most of today sorting out my new classroom and unpacking my things, but this afternoon I had to get on with finishing my entry for the art journal CJ I'm in. The theme of the book is Fairy tales and I decided to make my entry a pop-up gingerbread house from Hansel and Gretel.
This is the Karen Burniston house design that Jane Dean taught at the 'A Trip Down Memory Lane' retreat last November. I covered it in brown cardstock and embellished with lots of stickles and some stripy candy circles that I punched from Christmas paper.
I made my entry like a Brothers Grimm story book and when you open it the house pops up - will take a pic of this once the Stickles have completely dried!!

Managed to get all of my DT work sent off today, my favourite thing was actually an altered jar that I'm using to keep the Go-Cat in (Bengals can easily break into a box of Go-Cat!). Here are a couple of teaser pics of the jar... there'll be a proper pic on the ATDML shop July gallery.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Creativity day 2 - photo shoot

Well, today's creativity had to be to get my Design Team work done to send off to Mel at A Trip Down Memory Lane - but since I can't show you that I'll show you some of the photos I took instead. The papers for the DT work were from the Max and Whiskers collection by Basic Grey so I thought I'd take some up to the minute pics of the cats to scrap.
Here are some of my favourites...

Skye - aka Bagpuss...
Roxy - looking wistful...
Claudia - playful as usual...
Gracie - working it for the camera...
and last, but not least...
Freddie - looking very regal...

Look out for them in the ATDML July gallery!

Monday, 5 July 2010

Do something 1

So, for the first day of my 'Do something creative every day' I have created...

...aching muscles!!

...and a new front garden.

I don't have pictures of the proper 'before' when this little plot was full of dead broom bushes, grass and other weeds. But after a lot of digging over the weekend, here's how it looked this morning...
A lot more digging and 'riddling' out the stones and lumps of clay and this is how the garden looked by mid afternoon...

I mixed a bag of compost through the freshly seived soil and added some fertilizer before planting it with some Salvias, French and English lavenders and mixed heathers. I now just need to finish it with some chipped bark or cocoa shells.
I did also create a lot of mess in the process and so I ended up taking 10 bags of stones, gravel and clay to the local tip! Now just to clean up the soil trail I created through the house!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Do something creative everyday

A few years ago when I first discovered the shop 'Paper Source' on Boylston St in Boston, I bought this great little rubber stamp. Like a postmark but inside the circle it says 'Do something creative every day' (edit: see photo above!). I've decided this is going to be my personal goal for my summer holidays. Working full time I don't always get the opportunities for creativity that I'd like and so I want to make every day of the holidays count. Whether it be my design work, scrap-booking, drawing, art journalling, sewing, gardening, cooking, photography, play-writing, home-making, playing my saxophone or even just displays at school.

Some of the projects I want to do over the holidays include...

Making my own trousers (I've bought a pattern!)
Re-planting part of our front garden (already underway!)
Making felt jewellery (wool tops ordered)
Writing a play based on the Song of Hiawatha
Making new curtains for our bedroom
Making 26 'Memories of P7' books ready for my class in the year ahead
Adding to my musician sketches (I'm thinking Mark Knopfler to start with)
Making a holiday scrapbook ready for our Nile Cruise in October
Finish my paper bag book
Start to make things with mum for the Christmas fayre in November

But before I can do all that I have my new classroom to sort & decorate - I'll try to take pictures along the way! That's what I'm off to do this morning

Of course alongside this goal is the challenge to try and blog abut everything I do.

I see you quivering with antici.........pation!

At having to wait for my next blog post?... maybe - I know it's taken a while, but now I've finished making my 25 individual little scrapbooks for the children in my class and I'm on holiday I may be able to post a little more often (and actually have some sort of arty content).

No, today's post is a late update on my birthday present progress. June was 'The Rocky Horror Show' at Edinburgh Playhouse. Where else would I have the following conversation with my husband?...

Him: Jane, look at that man just wearing gold hotpants!
Me: Where?!?
Him: Behind the man with the basque and the beard!

Of course that was just the audience he was talking about and although we are not Rocky Horror virgins we did not dress up (both having come straight from work). The audience may have been good, but the cast were outstanding. For me usually nobody can compare to Tim Curry as Frank-en-furter but David Bedella was amazing. In fact the whole cast were excellent - and the staging was very well thought out and witty - I especially liked Brad and Janet's car.

We sang along, we danced the Time Warp and enjoyed the spectacle of Rocky in his leopard print pants! All in all a great evening and I have to give it a 10/10!

Janet: I don't like men with too many muscles.
Frank: I didn't make him for you!